Hello my friends. As I write this, Sonoma has announced we are going into another lockdown—something, in my opinion, we should have taken on board sooner. But despite personal opinion, whether you agree or disagree, I urge you all to be safe and follow the local ordinances of your state and county.
With that out of the way, I’ve got my weekly list of wine-centric news and blogs. So please, scroll away, catch up, have fun, leave a comment if you feel so inclined.
For those of you following along on my WSET Diploma journey, apologies for the lack of posts. I’m hoping to get them going again soon but I’ve been spending a lot of time balancing work and study. Connect with me if you’re in the middle of your Diploma as well—would love to learn how others are tackling this D3 process and what kinds of tips/tricks/info you’d like to see covered here. Always happy to engage.
Signing off—have a fun, safe, and healthy weekend.
Press Democrat: Sonoma County issues stay-home order to slow spread of coronavirus
Sonoma County residents Saturday will again face strict limits on public life and commerce with a new stay-home order from the county’s health officer to counter the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases in the past 10 days and blunt what local data suggest about the challenging weeks ahead.
Much like the sudden and painful restrictions issued in March at the start of the pandemic, the county’s new rules — taking effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday and set to expire Jan. 9 — will be another blow to some of the county’s core economic sectors and small businesses, ending dining at restaurants and service at breweries and wineries, halting nonessential hotel and vacation home stays and barring services like haircuts. READ MORE…
Wine Enthusiast: Wineries Strive for Carbon Neutrality. Is It Enough?
Devastating wildfires in California and Australia. Record-high temperatures and droughts in Europe. Grape varieties that thrive in once-unlikely places. The effects of climate change on winemaking around the globe are not theoretical; they’re here and they’re real.
Enter carbon neutrality. The idea is that wineries can offset their environmental impact by switching to renewable energy sources like wind, reducing or eliminating chemical sprays, using smarter packaging like lighter-weight bottles, and purchasing carbon credits from nonprofits.
Some wineries seek or proudly tout carbon neutral certifications awarded by third parties like Natural Capital Partners.
Carbon neutrality has become the environmental badge for wineries wanting to combat climate change. But is it enough? READ MORE…
Wine Spectator: World Leaders Rally Behind Australian Wine
Politicians from multiple nations, including the U.S., urge consumers to buy Aussie after China imposes crippling tariffs
Australian winemakers experienced some welcome solidarity last week after China, Australia’s largest trading partner, imposed tariffs of up to 212 percent on Aussie wine exports.
Political leaders from the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Italy and New Zealand launched a global campaign via video to encourage their compatriots to drink Aussie wine in response to what is widely believed to be political bullying on the part of China.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) is a global bipartisan group of legislators founded as a forum to discuss how democratic countries can respond to an increasingly assertive China. It represents more than 200 elected officials from 18 countries and the European Union, including 10 members of the U.S. Congress from both sides of the aisle, including Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.).
According to Australian Labour Party Senator Kimberley Kitching, who is the Australian co-chair of IPAC, the idea came from discussions between IPAC members. READ MORE…
SevenFifty Daily: Key Takeaways From ‘Be The Change’ Diversity Job Fair
A first of its kind for the drinks industry, the virtual event connected over 700 aspiring professionals with more 900 jobs at leading companies
On December 3, Be the Change, an initiative aimed at bringing diversity and inclusion to the wine and spirits industry, hosted its inaugural virtual job fair. The four-hour event aimed to connect employers committed to diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) with more than 700 registered job seekers looking for opportunities in the drinks world.
Over 900 jobs were presented by participating companies. Exhibitors included top suppliers, such as Avaline, Constellation Brands, Moet Hennessy, E. & J. Gallo, Bacardi, Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, T. Edward Wine & Spirits, Jackson Family Wines, Trinchero Family Estates, The Wine Group, and Cakebread Cellars; and leading wholesalers including Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Republic National Distributing Company, Young Market Company, Breakthru Beverage, Empire Merchants, and Great Lakes Wine & Spirits. The event was hosted by online career fair platform, Brazen, and in collaboration with ForceBrands.
“Be the Change Job Fair was a history-making success in many ways,” said Philana Bouvier, Be the Change cofounder and vice president fine wine and supplier business development at Republic National Distributing Company. READ MORE…
Stuff: Wine judge Jim Harre’s latest critique leaves a sour note for Canterbury winemaker
A North Canterbury winemaker is in shock after receiving a “condescending, patronising and misogynistic” message from a top wine critic.
International wine judge Jim Harre told Jess Mavromatis to “give up” and “find a new hobby” after tasting the Ekleipsis pinot noir nouveau at Dunedin’s Moiety restaurant on Saturday.
Harre said the Waipara wine was “disgusting” and “the worst pinot noir I’ve tried in years’’. READ MORE…
North Bay Business Journal: California vintners eye year-end sales to gauge 2021 grape, bulk wine needs
The fourth quarter of the year typically is a make-or-break time for North Coast vintners in bottle sales.
But this anything-but-typical year of pandemic and wildfire has challenged winery planning for 2021.
When sales for the year wrap, a key question that wineries say they will be looking at is how much consumer demand there is for more wine and where any needed additional wine will come from.
“Last year, it was darn difficult to sell anything as grapes, and when the smoke hit it was darn near impossible,” said Glenn Proctor, a partner with San Rafael-based global grape and bulk-wine brokerage Ciatti Co. “I think we will see more fruit sold in 2021, but the question is what the pricing will be, because on-premise brands are not doing well. Buyers (of grapes) are looking, but they do not have an open checkbook, and it will not be like it was three or four years ago.” READ MORE…
Mercury News: Loma Prieta Winery sold to Saratoga developer
After 18 years in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Loma Prieta Winery has changed hands.
The winery and vineyard, known as the nation’s largest producer of pinotage, was purchased by Chris Arriaga, a real estate developer and former U.S. Marshal. He and his daughter, Samantha, both residents of Saratoga, will continue to operate the winery under its existing name, retaining all staff.
Arriaga, a Bay Area native, had been keeping an eye on the Loma Prieta Winery property for the last year and a half, and when the price dropped to a really attractive point, he made his move. READ MORE…
New York Times: Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Highly Popular but Little Known
Montepulciano, the grape, is not to be confused with Montepulciano, the wine region in Tuscany. It is the second most widely planted red grape in Italy after sangiovese, but it is not nearly as well known outside Italy or as highly esteemed.
Partly, this is because Abruzzo and the Adriatic coast of Italy are neither as wealthy nor as widely explored by American tourists as Tuscany. The region does not have a history of craftsmanlike winemaking, though Abruzzo is the home of two of Italy’s most gloriously idiosyncratic producers, Valentini and Emidio Pepe, whose wines are expensive and highly coveted.
But the general level of quality in Abruzzo has risen over the last 20 years, and I have become an avid fan of both its whites and its reds. READ MORE…
Blogs Worth a Read
Taken from the list of Blogs I follow regularly, here are just a few posts from this past week I think are worth a read. Shoot me a note if you have suggestions of blogs to follow or want your blog included on that list.
A Balanced Glass: Women In Wellness: A Focus On Entrepreneurship
Between childcare, homeschooling and trying to hold a job, COVID’s negative and disproportionate impact on women is well-documented. (This holds true in the US and internationally.) During the pandemic, also, reports like this one indicate that women are more likely to start their own businesses.
In other words, women are more heavily impacted by COVID, yet more women are also starting businesses during COVID. READ MORE…
The Wine Gourd: Tasting great wines?
A few weeks ago, Eric Asimov noted that: “Benchmark bottles were always a splurge. But an increasing concentration of wealth has put them out of reach for all but the richest connoisseurs” (How income inequality has erased your chance to drink the great wines).
The basic argument here is that The Great Wines of the World used to be at least within the reach of the likes of you and I, even if we chose not to reach out, and actually pay the money. That is, we had a choice: “middle-class wine lovers could still afford to experience … drinking a truly great wine, not simply to enjoy it, but to understand what qualities made it exceptional in the eyes of history.” These days, this choice is no longer the case, so that Millennials will not be able to experience fine wines the way their Baby Boomer parents are alleged to have done. READ MORE…
The Pour: Wines to Remember in a Year to Forget
Like many people, I’ve spent most of 2020 sitting at home thinking about what was to have been.
My intent this year was to spend a fair amount of time traipsing through rows of gnarled old vines around the world, tasting new wines from barrels in any number of cold, mold-adorned cellars and meeting new people and fascinating wine cultures. READ MORE…
Wine Curmudgeon: This California winemaker is impressed with nutrition fact boxes
Not everyone in the wine business thinks nutrition fact boxes are the spawn of the devil
Anthony Riboli didn’t necessarily want a nutrition facts box on his peach flavored fizzy wine. But U.S. and Italian wine regulations required it – and you know what? The facts box isn’t so bad.
“I wish I could say I had a choice in the matter, but now there are obvious benefits,” says Riboili, the fourth-generation winemaker for his family’s San Antonio Winery and its four brands. “Are wine connoisseurs going to care? Probably not. But it will it open us up to drinkers who may not identify themselves as wine drinkers? I can see that.” READ MORE…
We Like Drinking: After the Glass Fire with Stu Smith
This week on episode 307 of the We Like Drinking podcast we’ll be discussing Fantasy Football ByeLaws, Barrel Aged Kit Kat Bars, and We’re talking Fire and Wine with Stu Smith of Smith- Madrone Winery… so crack open that beer, uncork that wine, and let’s get drinking! LISTEN HERE…
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